NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Drug overdoses across the country and in Massachusetts have increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday is International Overdose Awareness Day, which brings this issue to center stage. Spreading awareness is more important than ever as communities continue to navigate the pandemic. Many health experts attribute the increase in overdose related deaths to the isolation brought on by COVID-19.
According to the Massachusetts Health Department, there was a 2% increase in overdoses during the first three months of 2021 compared to the year before.
Tapestry, is an overdose prevention organization, partnering with multiple cities and towns in western Massachusetts to spread awareness this week.
Preliminary data show that 81,230 overdose deaths occurred in the United States from June 2019 through May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period.
“Historically overdoses from drugs have been tied to families and loved ones feeling a lot of shame and a lot of time people don’t feel like there’s a place to mourn and grieve so this is a time where we’re trying to bring people together in order to do so.” Liz Whynott, the Director of harm reduction programs, Tapestry
Tapestry did host an remembrance walk to honor overdose in Springfield Monday, they’ll be teaming up with other local communities Tuesday for more international awareness day events.